Welcome To Carb Day At IMS

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Welcome to the zoo that is Carb Day at IMS. I will spare you the obligatory pictures of the freak show that we encountered. There were just too many to choose from. We were late leaving Nashville, therefore we were delayed arriving here (surely there’s a lesson there somewhere). By arriving at the track by 2:00, the whack jobs were well on their way to inebriation. I almost felt like a misfit walking through the crowd sober.

Carb day has never been my favorite day around here. I wish the IndyCar practice was later and longer. Even in my younger days, I was never an outdoor concert-goer. Now that I’m closer to sixty than I am to fifty, you can imagine my enthusiasm today. But even though this isn’t my thing, the crowd seems to be enjoying it. Why not? It’s a beautiful day, the temperature is 72-degrees and we are at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And believe me, there is a crowd. This is, by far, the biggest crowd I’ve seen here all month. The stands inside the track behind the pits, are absolutely packed. I was shocked when we went out there.

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The TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition is currently going on. That’s another activity here that is not my favorite thing to watch. There is about ten seconds of action followed by ten minutes of down time. One nice moment though, was when the  Holmatro Safety Team was recognized. We were reminded of how great they are at their job this past week, when they performed their job flawlessly while saving the life of James Hinchcliffe. It’s good that they are finally getting some recognition. They deserve every bit of it.

From here, we’ll go to the Carb Night Burger Bash north of town at 96th Street Steakburgers. If you are in town and haven’t been, that’s a very enjoyable evening hosted by Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee of Trackside. It is free admission and you only pay for what you eat. There are racing memorabilia items auctioned off for charity and several drivers will be on hand to chat with fans.

Tomorrow is Legend’s Day here at The Speedway, honoring four-time winner Al Unser. I love Legend’s Day. It’s a more subdued crowd than today. One of my favorite things about it is the running of the vintage race cars on the track. It brings me back to fifty years ago when I was here for the first time and saw roadsters and Novi’s in the field.

We’ll start the day with my brother’s group at Charlie Brown’s Steak and Pancake house in Speedway for breakfast. then we’ll head to the track. In the afternoon, we’ll make our annual visit to the museum with my brother. If you think I’m a nut for the old cars, you ought to meet my brother. We generally have to drag him out after a few hours. Then the day will end at Dawson’s on Main in Speedway, before turning in early for the race.

I will have something up here mid-morning, after we get to the track. Then Susan will have a post up here later in the day with her unique perspective of the month.

This will be it for the day, but you can follow us on Twitter for photos from the Burger Bash tonight. Follow me at @Oilpressureblog or Susan at @MrsOilpressure.

George Phillips

Indianapolis 500 Preview

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 22, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Well, the wait is almost over. After a full Month of May, we are now on the cusp of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

I’ll be honest with you – I’m tired. And I’m not half as tired as Susan. She travels throughout the week for work, so she has essentially been living out of suitcases since before Barber. Susan loves watching and going to races, but she doesn’t have the passion for just being at IMS like I do.

This has been an odd month. After the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, it just felt odd to wake up in Indianapolis that Sunday morning and have no place to go. We made the obligatory stop at Long’s Donuts, then went across town to Edward’s Drive-In for our never-ending quest for the perfect tenderloin (more on that at a later date) before heading home.

As usual, weather has played a big part in the month – and it may continue this weekend. As of this morning, it doesn’t look so great for Sunday. The worst part about that is that Monday could look worse. I can stick around for the race if it gets pushed to Monday. After that, I have to get home. Being the optimist that I am, I’m thinking that they get the race in on Sunday and the rains come soon after the race.

Then, of course, there are the crashes allegedly due to issues with the Chevy aero kits. It all started last Wednesday, when Helio Castroneves flipped after hitting the wall in Turn One. The next day, Josef Newgarden hit the same wall hard, but rolled over before skidding to a stop upside down. Sunday morning before qualifying was Ed Carpenter’s turn. He had a very hard hit before also getting upside down coming out of Turn Two. Three upside down Chevys in five days was starting to look like a trend. IndyCar officials delayed qualifying, reduced boost and mandated all teams qualify in race trim.

Then the most terrifying crash came on Monday, when a rocker arm broke on the car of James Hinchcliffe, sending the popular Canadian driver uncontrollably into the Turn Three wall, completely obliterating the entire right side of the car. A suspension piece pierced the tub and impaled Hinchcliffe’s legs, causing significant blood loss in a very short time. We cannot say enough how thankful we all are for the skill of the Holmatro Safety Team. Their efforts literally saved Hinch’s life.

Hinchcliffe will miss the “500”. Ryan Briscoe will start for him from the back row and should become a sentimental favorite for many to win the race for Hinchcliffe.

There is a lot of concern heading into this year’s “500”. Some is justified, while I believe a lot of angst is due to somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. I’ll admit that at mid-week, I was very uneasy about Sunday’s race. Some I talked with were making comparisons to 1973, which was marred by rain, postponements, a horrific start and the fatalities of two drivers and one crewmember.

But as we get closer to the race, the more I read and hear – I’m feeling more confident that nothing out of the ordinary should happen in this race. I’m no fortune teller, so I’ll not go so far as to say nothing will happen because as we’ve seen before – anything can happen.

Actually, my feeling now is that IndyCar has taken steps that will make this race too ordinary – read: boring; just like qualifying was. That’s OK. That happens every now and then. The 2009 race was sort of a snoozer, but Helio Castroneves still came away as a three-time champion. 2008 was not a real barn-burner either.

But fans have gotten spoiled with exciting finishes since the 2011 race, and that is now expected. It doesn’t always happen, but fans have short memories sometimes and forget the days when only one or two cars finished on the lead lap.

Of course, I really have no idea what will happen. Neither does anyone else. To speculate is just a guess, but that’s what makes pre-race discussion so much fun. And maybe that’s what’s missing – fun.

Since Helio’s crash last Wednesday, the mood started to take a serious turn – culminating with Hinchcliffe’s crash on Monday. Things were justifiably somber on Monday, but fans seem to still be mourning a driver who is predicted to make a full recovery.

I am going to Indianapolis this weekend to have fun and enjoy myself. I have not been to a race there or anywhere else that I didn’t stop and think for a moment of what might possibly go wrong before the start. I always breathe a sigh of relief when we have gotten through a “500” with no serious incidents. But I don’t go into any race weekend with a dark cloud hanging over me because of what might happen. If that ever happened, I think I would just stay home. If I’m wrong and something bad happens, I’ll obviously adjust my mood.

Part of our having fun involves most of our time spent at the track. We will be at Carb Day this afternoon, but we usually miss the IndyCar practice. We’ll be there for the Freedom 100 and some of the TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition; but we’ll escape before the rowdies get too drunk and the concerts get cranking. Friday night, we’ll head to the Burger Bash.

Saturday we’ll start the day with my brother and his group at Charlie Brown’s. Then we’ll head to the track for Legend’s Day and spend the entire day there. Then we’ll have an early dinner at Dawson’s before turning in early. Then of course, it’ll be Race Day on Sunday. As usual, please follow along here all weekend. You may also follow Susan and me on Twitter at @MrsOilpressure and @Oilpressureblog respectively.

Another part of the fun of the weekend is predicting a winner. I was one of the few that actually picked Tony Kanaan to win the race in 2013. Last year, I went with Will Power. This year, it is a driver that has been under the radar all month even though he has been quick. No one has talked about him and even some of the other drivers seem to be overlooking him. That’s a mistake. My pick to win the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is again – Tony Kanaan.

George Phillips

Don’t Avoid The Obvious

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 21, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Normally, I don’t seek out controversy. I try to look at things in a positive light, while being realistic. This post focuses more on being realistic. I know many will disagree with me here, and that’s fine. Just know that I’m not purposely trying to stir things up.

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Your 2015 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Answers

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 20, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Before getting to lighthearted matters, I would like to wish James Hinchcliffe a full and fast recovery. When John and I recorded our One Take Only on Monday night, we did not know the gravity of the situation at that time. We were under the assumption that it was no more than a fractured femur, which is serious enough.

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Ramblings On The Upcoming Indianapolis 500

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 19, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Surely you didn’t think that Race Week would come and go without an episode of One Take Only, did you? This site gets a lot more traffic in May than other months – especially the week leading up to the Indianapolis 500, so there are probably many who have never been exposed to this video phenomenon. If you are strictly a May visitor – once you watch it, you may never come back here again.

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Random Thoughts On "500" Qualifying

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 18, 2015 by Oilpressure

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Suffice it to say, this was a strange weekend. From mid-week, the oddities began. Susan found out her work would take her to Indianapolis early, so that opened the door for me to get up there on Thursday night. For once, I arrived at the track before the gates opened on Fast Friday. Rain had been forecast for Friday, but it was hot and sunny.

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A Calm End To A Crazy Day

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 17, 2015 by Oilpressure

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I’ve been coming to this place for a long time, and this was one of the stranger days that I’ve seen. This place was a pressure cooker this morning. It was borderline amusing to watch all of the news hounds chasing every lead and rumor that was running through here. Since I just ramble on with my opinion about stuff and never report news, it made for good entertainment to watch and hear everyone reporting rumors.

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